Research City Laws
The legislative records search below includes all records in the City Clerk's Ordinances, Council Bills, Resolutions, Clerk Files and Published Documents databases. The Meeting Agendas search includes agendas of all Council Committees, Full Council, and Special Meetings from 2002 to present.
The City Clerk's Update blog, at cityclerk.seattle.gov, provides links to legislation that was recently acted on by the Council, as well as other news from the Office of the City Clerk.
The legislative indexes on the City Clerk's Online Information Resources Site allow you to search various records of the legislative process, including Council and Committee meeting agendas and minutes; legislation that has not yet been passed or incorporated into the online Seattle Municipal Code; and historic legislation; as well as the records of the Seattle Municipal Archives.
Knowing what you're looking for:
- Ordinances are items of legislation that have the force of law; before they are approved by Council they are known as Council Bills. The Seattle City Council has authority to create City policies and budgets in the form of Ordinances. Ordinances must comply with terms of the U.S. and Washington State constitutions, the general laws of the City and State and the City Charter.
- The City Council may also offer its collective opinion on matters in the form of Resolutions. Resolutions are items of legislation that are advisory or policy-oriented in nature. Sometimes Resolutions are used to approve grant applications, set hearing dates or take actions that do not commit the City to expenditures.
- Clerk Files (prior to 1983, called Comptroller Files) are documents filed with the Clerk that in some cases Council considers and takes action on. They can be reports, appointments, supporting information for legislation, or many other types of documents.
- Agendas announce the items (Council Bills, Resolutions and Clerk Files) that will be considered at each Council or Committee meeting.
- Minutes report the actions taken by Council on items considered at meetings.
The Seattle Municipal Code
City of Seattle laws of a general and permanent nature currently in effect are published as the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC). The SMC is available online at http://clerk.seattle.gov/public/code1.htm. The online SMC is updated approximately monthly. The most recent update date is noted on the SMC search page.
For help with research, please contact the Office of the City Clerk.